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Effects of breed, sex and neuter status on trainability in dogs

This study uses the C-BARQ questionnaire to evaluate the trainability of eleven dog breeds.

This paper expands upon the authors’ 2003 study in which a “trainability” factor was identified.  The C-BARQ questionnaire was used to assess trainability of eleven different breeds of dogs.  These were the Basset Hound, Dachshund, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Rottweiler, Shetland Sheepdog, Siberian Husky, West Highland White Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier.
Some interesting information was found using this questionnaire.  There were statistically significant differences in trainability amongst the breeds.  Breeds selected for hunting, retrieving, herding and protection were found to be more trainable than the Basset (scent hound) that was bred to work in a pack environment with little interaction with their humans.  The two breeds that have genetically isolated lines (show and working) are the Springer Spaniel and the Labrador retriever.  The lines selected for working were more trainable than those for show.
Trainability was not found to be significantly different between males and females in general, although, male Dachshunds and West Highland White terriers were found to be more trainable than their female counterparts.
The only breed to be affected by neutering was the Shetland Sheepdog where the males were found to be more trainable.  Otherwise, no breed differences were found among the other ten breeds.
Learning about the trainability in our dogs is important.   As well, helping people choose the best breeds/individuals for their particular needs whether it be a pet or assistance dog.

Serpell and Hsu  Effects of breed, sex and neuter status on trainability in dogs Anthrozoos, 18 (3) 2005

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